Socially accepted mannerisms and functions are them critiqued through frameworks of understanding that are at once rebellious and radical. These texts open up new ways of understanding the gender relations that exist in patriarchal societies and the influences that such societies have on the people who are a part of such societies. The texts also open up the possibilities for social theorists to understand the ways in which society as a whole is complicit in the victimization of women. The victim’s complicity is also often explored and this results in a better understanding of how the power structures that area associated with patriarchy are able to stifle women’s roles without any voice of dissent making itself known or heard. Film theorists have often been able to locate such discrepancies in the society that is modern and yet patriarchal; they have also been able to locate better the performative aspect of gender because of the very nature of film as a medium. The Great Gatsby is an important example of gender relations in the American society during the 1920s. This was an era when there was a great emphasis on the improvement of the economy and speculative investments were on the rise during this era. As a result of this, there were a large number of people who were extremely wealthy and held a great number of very lavish parties. Jay Gatsby is one such person. His source of income is very mysterious. What the reader knows of Jay Gatsby is what he chooses to tell the narrator Nick. As a result of this, the reader has no option but to accept the version of Gatsby. This passage makes this very clear- The truth was that Jay Gatsby, of West Egg, Long Island, sprang from his Platonic conception of himself. He was a son of God—a phrase which, if it means anything, means just that—and he must be about His Father’s business, the service of a vast, vulgar, and meretricious beauty. So he invented just the sort of Jay Gatsby that a seventeen year old boy would be likely to invent, and to this conception he was faithful to the end (Fitzgerald 1995, 16). The idea of inventing for oneself the kind of identity that was in vogue during the twenties is what Gatsby does. What he does is informed by the gender codes of the time and he is able to successfully inhabit such a role. This makes him a successful person for those who are around him. To inhabit a gender role is thus, what makes a person successful in a patriarchal society according to Fitzgerald. This inhabitation of gender roles can also be seen in the women characters of the novel. For instance, the extreme femininity of Daisy is what makes her attractive to the two men who are in love with her. Her rejection of the gender roles that are prescribed then makes room for turmoil and tension within the novel, the kind of tension that finally leads Gatsby to his death. Tom is another character who chooses to inhabit a space that has been socially prescribed. He plays out an older form of masculinity. According to this role, he is physically strong and is also the provider of the family. Such ideas of gender, according to feminists like Simone de Beauvoir are based on the idea that gender roles are based on the sex of a person. Such roles are then sanctioned by the society and this leads to them being set
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